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Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Vicky Clark, d/b/a The Paradise Game vs. DOR

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Vicky Clark, d/b/a The Paradise Game
Room, 318 West Elizabeth Street
Pageland, SC

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Marlene T. Sipes, Esquire, for Petitioner

Jeffrey Nelson, Esquire, for Respondent

Protestants: Sargeant Larry Brown, Ms. Pattie Hunter Pigg, Ms.
Elizabeth S. Hunter, Mr. James L. Moree, Ms. Eloise Moree,
Ms. Wanda Smith




This matter comes before the Administrative Law Judge Division (Division) upon the request of the Petitioner Vicky Clark, d/b/a The Paradise Game Room for a contested case hearing pursuant

to S.C. Code Ann. §61-4-520 et seq. (Supp. 2001). The Petitioner seeks an on-premises beer and wine permit for the location at 318 West Elizabeth Street, Pageland, South Carolina. This matter is presently before the Division because of a protest by concerned citizens concerning the suitability of the location. The Respondent moved to be excused since but for the protests they would have issued the permit and license. This motion was denied. After notice to all parties and Protestants, a hearing was conducted on September 9, 2002, at the Division in Columbia, South Carolina. At the hearing, the parties and several Protestants were present.


Having observed the testimony of the witnesses and exhibits presented at the hearing and having closely passed upon their credibility, I make the following Findings of Fact by a preponderance of the evidence:

  • The Petitioner seeks an on-premises beer and wine permit for the location known

as The Paradise Game Room, located at 318 West Elizabeth Street, Pageland, South Carolina.

2. The Respondent, South Carolina Department of Revenue, determined that the

location and the Petitioner met all statutory requirements and would have granted the permit but for the protests as to suitability of the location.

  • The location is in a rural area of Pageland that is a mixture of residential and

commercial establishments. The Petitioner intends to have an arcade and pool room at the proposed location and to run a family-oriented business. She has set up an after-school program from 3-6 PM to provide a place for the children of the community to gather to play games after school. The Petitioner has stated that she will likely hire security guards to help patrol the establishment. She will not serve beer or wine while the children are present.

4. There are currently other facilities in the area that serve alcohol. This location has

been licensed in the past for alcohol sales. This particular location has had problems in the past with violent crimes, but not during the time the Petitioner has owned her business.

5. Residents that live near the proposed location oppose the permit. They fear violence

will occur at the game room and spill over into their community. They have had problems in the past with noise and violence. They are concerned about the number of children in the area and the suitability of this type of establishment serving beer and wine where children are present. Therefore, they believe the location is unsuitable for a permit.

6. The Petitioner has taken steps to counteract the problems this location has dealt with

in the past. She has trimmed the foliage around the building, and the building is well lit. The view of the building is no longer obstructed from the street.

7. The applicant is of good moral character. The State Law Enforcement Division's

criminal background investigation revealed no criminal violations.

8. The Petitioner is at least twenty-one years of age, a U.S. citizen, and citizen of the

State of South Carolina, and has maintained her principal residence in the State for at least thirty days prior to the application.

9. Notice of the application appeared in The Pageland Progressive Journal, a

newspaper of general circulation in the area of the proposed location, once a week for three consecutive weeks and notice was posted at the proposed location for fifteen days.


Based upon the foregoing Findings of Fact, I conclude as a matter of law, the following:

1. The South Carolina Administrative Law Judge Division has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 61-2-260 (Supp. 2001).

2. The factual determination of whether or not an application is granted or denied is usually the sole prerogative of the agency charged with rendering that decision. Palmer v. South Carolina ABC Comm'n, 282 S.C. 246, 317 S.E.2d 476 (Ct. App. 1984).

3. Although "proper location" is not statutorily defined, broad discretion is vested in the trier of fact to determine the fitness or suitability of the proposed business location of an applicant who is seeking a permit to sell beer and wine. Fast Stops, Inc., v. Ingram, 276 S.C. 593, 281 S.E.2d 119 (1981); Ronald F. Byers v. South Carolina ABC Comm'n, 281 S.C. 566, 316 S.E.2d 705 (Ct. App. 1984) (beer and wine permit).

4. It is also the fact finder's responsibility to judge the demeanor and credibility of the witnesses and determine the relevance and weight of any testimony offered.

5. The determination of suitability of location is not necessarily a function solely of geography. It involves an infinite variety of considerations related to the nature and operation of the proposed business and its impact on the community within which it is to be located. Kearney v. Allen, 287 S.C. 324, 338 S.E.2d 335 (1985). Any evidence adverse to the location may be considered. Byers v. South Carolina ABC Comm'n, 305 S.C. 243, 407 S.E.2d 653 (1991). Further, the Judge may consider whether there have been law enforcement problems in the area. Palmer v. South Carolina ABC Comm'n, 282 S.C. 246, 317 S.E.2d 476 (Ct. App. 1984). Also, the Judge may consider the proximity or the absence of other licensed locations in the immediate vicinity, as well as the existence of small children in the area.

6. In considering the suitability of a location, it is relevant to consider the previous history of the proposed location and to determine whether the testimony in opposition to a permit consists of opinions and conclusions or is supported by facts. Taylor v. Lewis, 261 S.C. 168, 198 S.E.2d 801 (1973).

7. Without sufficient evidence of an adverse impact on the community, the application must not be denied if the statutory criteria are satisfied. The fact that a Protestant objects to the issuance of a permit is not a sufficient reason alone to deny the application. 48 C.J.S. Intoxicating Liquors § 119 (1981).

8. S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-525 (Supp. 2001) provides that a person residing in the county in which a beer and wine permit is requested to be granted, or a person residing within five (5) miles of the location, may protest the issuance of the permit if he files a written protest.

9. Permits and licenses issued by the State are not rights or property, but are rather privileges granted in the exercise of the police power of the State. See Feldman v. South Carolina Tax Comm'n, 201 S.C. 49, 26 S.E.2d 22 (1943).

10. After considering all the relevant factors, I find that the location is suitable for the on-premises sale of beer and wine, with the following restrictions. There shall be no live music, there shall be no sales of beer or wine prior to 9:00 PM, and the establishment must close by midnight. There is nothing in the record to indicate that the Petitioner would operate her business in an unlawful manner.


Based upon the above Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, it is hereby:

ORDERED that the South Carolina Department of Revenue grant the Petitioner's application for an on-premises beer and wine permit, with the following restrictions:

1. There shall be no live music allowed in or on the premises;

2. There shall be no sales of beer or wine prior to 9:00 PM;

3. The establishment must cease selling beer and wine by midnight and must close by 1:00 AM.




Administrative Law Judge

January 10, 2003

Columbia, South Carolina

Brown Bldg.






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